Environment & NatureInformation & OpinionPoetryThailand

Fires already?

I have written many times on the subject of atmospheric pollution and although I am taking a break from blogging for a while I cannot contain my emotions when it comes to being exposed to deliberately started forest fires.

While I am managing a building project in Northern Thailand I am staying on the hill slopes of Huai Kaew village, 30 kms north of Chiang Mai, bordering the forests. The climate at this time of year is comfortable. Cool at night and early morning rising to 30c + in the day with no rain except the occasional shower.

But now the burning season starts when the monsoon rains have gone and farmers burn off the dry dead grasses and stubble to stimulate new growth next year around May/June’; then Cutting back excessive growth, clearing land and deforestation for fruit and vegetable farming.

Unfortunately making a living takes preference over self- health and the health of others. The natural environment, habitat and animal life are hardly a consideration.

Despite the annual government warnings and penalties, seldom imposed, slash and burn techniques continue unabated. Ask the locals and they will tell you ‘This is the way it has always been.’

Ask if they think it is OK and you will probably get a shrug of the shoulders or, at best, ‘What can I do’.

In other words, total apathy.

Having nearly choked to death in Phuket, due to the horrendous forest fires in Sumatra, in September/October I have a more than a vested interest in finding a solution to the Global air pollution problem.

Apart from helping to raise awareness in a small way I am virtually powerless.

And so the global problem of Global warming continues on its merry way and we all suffer the consequences.

You may say ‘The Sun will eventually destroy us so what does it matter anyway.’

I say I am thankful I have no grandchildren!!!

I leave you with this hurriedly written poem induced by indignation and wine and would like you to look at my picture of the beautiful forest I am looking at tonight which is burning as I write.


Why are you killing us?

Burning our land.

You have no rites of passage.

You have no right to stand


I watch in despair,

Each night as I laze.

Your fires that destroy us;

My lungs are ablaze.


The world is at war

With natures reaction,

To warming the globe

And our interaction.


The ice caps are melting.

The land is enveloped.

Species facing extinction.

No chance to develop.


I ask you again,

Please consider your brother.

Remember your learning and

How you treat your mother (Earth).



0 thoughts on “Fires already?

  1. Totally agree with your comments. I guess down through the ages, man never received any feedback with neighbouring peoples views on excessive smoke, albeit it may have been on a much smaller scale. Nowadays its a major problem encapsulating many countries suffering the blanketing filthy pollutants from farmland fires.
    Governments are well aware of their responsibilities, and should implement strategies to disallow this continual annual ritual to alleviate this escalating health issue. What will it take to organise a turnaround? it will take education and of course compensation payments. Ask a Chinese majority of politicians to act swiftly……it will never happen, and I’m sure the intelligent people will understand the reasons why.

    1. Thank you so much for your considered comment Lance. Sometimes I feel bad when I keep beating the same old drum, especially when my Thai friends and neighbours smile and say ‘That’s the way it is here.’ But that won’t stop me. Keep well. James

  2. Great article and poem! Having been to SE Asia several times now and witnessed the devastation as a result of burning and especially over some 20+ years, then I fully agree with you. However, it’s not only applicable in SE Asia.

    1. Hi Nila. Thanks for your contribution to my post. I am, unfortunately, painfully aware that SE Asia is not an isolated case but I can write from personal experience and acquired knowledge on the subject as it applies to this part of the world. Now I’ve discovered a new blog that looks interesting I’ll be checking your work out. Keep well. James

  3. Good for you for taking a stand….you may not realize how one person taking a stand can make a difference. …..but you have planted the seed for change….keep watering it…..and envision the change…..they stopped the dams on the rivers in Chile. ….a grassroots effort…..may the force be with you…..with love and light….stay the course…..

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